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Eyeball Scout: Hahn, Bassitt, Phegley

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I am the Eyeball Scout, a man who overcame the odds considering that when I was a teenager my dad kept warning me that I was going to go blind.

Jesse Hahn

First and foremost, though he has struggled of late I think Jesse Hahn is going to be a very good pitcher. He is typical of a movement to get younger in that he has flaws -- seen in the form of inconsistency -- that you just have to roll with until he gains experience.

What stands out to me is the tremendous horizontal movement Hahn gets on his fastball, along with diving sinking action. His changeup has also been better than I had been expecting. What he is prone to is location mistakes, which I can live with since they are failures of execution rather than failures of effort or intelligence. His 0-2 pitch to Robinson Cano last night was a terrible 0-2 pitch but only because he missed his target.

Regarding what Hahn could improve that isn't just "better execution," I think his approach when he has a hitter's count such as 3-1 is to "give in" by throwing closer to the center of the plate. The problem is that when Hahn elevates his fastball it really does flatten out and it is really, really hittable.

Hahn should take advantage of the natural sinking action on his 2-seamer and pound the knees, preying on the aggressiveness of batters getting a fastball in a hitter's count. They will pound that sinker into the ground if it's not belt high. Yes, by staying out of the middle of the strike zone Hahn will probably walk a couple more batters along the way, but as we saw with Seth Smith's RBI double last night, if Hahn elevates his fastball in hitters' counts he is going to give up a lot of very loud contact.

Overall Hahn is, at this stage of his career, a victim of his great movement: The very stuff that will make him so good is also what makes it hard for him to locate his pitches consistently. Given enough repetitions, Hahn will improve the consistency of his command and he will start to resemble current-Graveman less and current Sonny Gray more. I think he has #2 SP upside.

Chris Bassitt

What I notice with Chris Bassitt is not uncommon amongst tall and lanky pitchers who are, by nature, "a lot of arms and legs" in their delivery. Bassitt's delivery is not easily repeatable from pitch to pitch and I suspect his release point is about as reliable as the A's defense.

A great role model for Bassitt is in the ballpark today: The impressive reliever Carter Carson Smith. Smith's 3/4 delivery hides the ball out of his hand to RH batters and the difference between the two relievers is not so much the stuff as it is the consistency of Smith's delivery and the resulting command he has.

If Bassitt can find that release point which is hard for RH batters to pick up, and then repeat it pitch to pitch, he has a chance to be quite good. Right now, however, Bassitt truly has no idea where the ball is going once it leaves his hand because to my eyes he does not really have one repeatable delivery.

Josh Phegley

Josh Phegley is really bad. At the plate he is your basic hacker who runs into a ball occasionally, but it's behind the plate that the more I see him the less I can imagine any pitcher wants to throw to him. He clanks pitches, he doesn't turn the glove half the time on pitches in the dirt, he stabs at errant pitches rather than moving laterally for them, and he picks up a ball like it's marinated in oil.

The good news is that your backup catcher rarely decides a division title. The bad news is that the A's cannot catch Stephen Vogt every day and they need, on their list of home (and road) improvements, a better #2 catcher on a team reliant on platoons and the full 25-man roster.


Happy Mother's Day, everyone! Let's hear it for rock bottom and hope that the journey back up the mountain begins with an improbable win over Felix Hernandez.